70
votes
4answers
22k views

Why did my banana catch fire in the microwave?

Wow, that sounds like a silly question, but really! My wife froze bananas in the freezer with the peel still on. You can't peel them frozen. I put it in the microwave for one minute at 50% power. ...
38
votes
12answers
19k views

What's the proper way to dispose of used fats & oils?

Down the drain? Does it depend on the type? With bacon fat, I usually let it solidify in a cup lined with foil, and then throw it out. With used canola oil, I'm not quite sure what to do because it ...
31
votes
11answers
14k views

How to succeed with making omelette

Sounds simple but I seem to fail every time, that is it turns into scrambled eggs instead. How do you make it so that you can flip it over both without it breaking and before it burns?
25
votes
12answers
2k views

How do we escape the cycle of bad college eating?

Mouseover text: And yet I never stop thinking, 'sure, these ingredients cost more than a restaurant meal, but think how many meals I'll get out of them! Especially since each one will have ...
22
votes
5answers
22k views

Does microwaving destroy nutrients in food?

After answering this article, I did some research on microwaving killing vitamins and nutrients in food. I very quickly learned that this is a touchy subject, even among nutritionists, and nobody (at ...
8
votes
8answers
3k views

Kitchen essentials for a poor college student who wants to cook like an iron chef?

During college years funding is low but the need to cook like a pro can be essential. (Let's say to meeting your future wife/husband?) What are essential devices the kitchen should have but will ...
16
votes
2answers
11k views

Is smell a bad way of determining whether meat is still good?

I have always relied on my sense of smell to determine whether meat (most often chicken) is bad and I thought it was reliable. However, I have just heard that [1] smell is not always reliable, since ...
39
votes
12answers
17k views

Why should I soak beans before cooking?

Every recipe says I should soak beans in water overnight before cooking. Why? I did some experiments. I have tried soaked and unsoaked beans from the same batch. There was no difference in cooking ...
24
votes
4answers
2k views

Wok preparation and caring

What is a good technique for initially seasoning a wok, keeping it seasoned, and preventing rust?
20
votes
7answers
2k views

How do I make a fried egg with completely cooked white but completely runny yolk?

I like a fried egg with all the white cooked, yet all the yolk runny. I normally do this by separating the yolk and white, and putting the yolk in halfway through. Anybody know an easier way?
20
votes
5answers
8k views

What varieties of potato would be good for chips / french fries?

What varieties of potato would be good for making chips / french fries that can be cooked in a deep fryer to give a nice golden crunch on the outside, but still be nice and fluffy in the middle?
19
votes
8answers
96k views

How to keep my (deep frying) oil usable as long as possible?

I have a new deep fryer. I am pleased with its results so far. I am not a 'heavy user' though - say once every 2-3 weeks. I want to re-use the oil a couple of times. The deep fryer is covered but not ...
18
votes
8answers
7k views

Is there any way to sous-vide without a machine

I live in an apartment and have limited space to store kitchen gadgets. I don't really like the idea of having a machine that is dedicated to one specific task. I particularly want to get into using ...
9
votes
7answers
118k views

Cooking beef: how to make it tender?

I have been trying to sauté beef and make pan sauces, but the meat seems to always become somewhat dry and chewy. How do I avoid this? I have the same issue when stewing beef in a slow cooker or dutch ...
32
votes
6answers
8k views

Why are there so many different pasta shapes?

Do the different pasta shapes serve any purpose, or are they just for fun? Some difference appear to be cultural (lo mein vs spaghetti), but there are so many different syles of Italian pasta, is ...
24
votes
7answers
74k views

Why let dough rise twice?

I'm just wondering, what's the point of letting dough rise twice? I've seen a bunch of recipes in the form: Mix dough together and knead Let it rise Knead again Let it rise again Why do they do ...
16
votes
2answers
15k views

What does gluten “do” in baking?

I saw many questions regarding converting baking recipes towards gluten-free, and it seems it's not an easy process. But none of the questions I came across helped me understanding what gluten ...
33
votes
14answers
9k views

How to clean mushrooms?

Some people say cleaning with water removes the taste from mushrooms. But if I don't use water the mushrooms will carry a lot of dust. Do you have any techniques for cleaning mushroom so I don't ...
17
votes
3answers
2k views

How can I make McDonald's type French Fries

I have eaten french fries from most popular fast food joints. McDonald's has been the best by far. Crisp & crunchy on the outside yet moist inside, still maintaining the potato taste. Also it ...
10
votes
4answers
26k views

How do I prevent food from sticking to a standard (non-coated) pan?

On cooking shows I always see cooks using ordinary pans without non-stick coatings, and nothing ever seems to stick to their pans. But when I try the same recipes at home, my food always sticks. ...
44
votes
8answers
18k views

Is it safe to eat moldy cheese if you slice off the edges?

Whenever my cheese gets too old and has a bit of blue/white mold on the side, I'm not sure whether I should throw it completely out or not. Is it safe to eat if I cut off the edge? Should I cut a bit ...
27
votes
6answers
50k views

How can brown stains be removed from pots and pans?

I haven't been cooking for long — recent college grad — so I'm doing a lot of experimentation and making a lot of rookie mistakes. One of them is shown here for your viewing pleasure: ...
17
votes
6answers
400k views

I need to quickly and safely thaw frozen ground beef, what are my options?

Since reading the answers to my question about defrosting meat on the counter I've been good about giving my meat time to defrost in the refrigerator. However, my plans for tonight have changed and ...
16
votes
12answers
54k views

How do I prevent coconut milk from separating in Thai curry?

It seems like every single attempt I've made at making a Thai-style coconut curry ends up with the sauce mixture separating. Although it usually still tastes good, the coconut ends up looking like it ...
15
votes
4answers
63k views

How to prevent “sweating” chocolate covered strawberries?

Last year for Valentines day, I decided I was going to be romantic and make some chocolate covered strawberries for someone special. I melted and tempered some milk chocolate. Then dipped the washed ...
14
votes
1answer
594 views

Are there any general principles of ingredient substitutions?

When trying to determine if an ingredient can be substituted in a recipe, are there any general principles or guidelines that apply?
13
votes
2answers
4k views

How to throw a pizza dough?

If there are different instructions for different sizes, those would be appreciated as well.
12
votes
5answers
11k views

What's the best approach to get runny-yolk sunny side up fried eggs?

I like my eggs Sunny-side up, and ideally, with runny yolk but fully firmed up whites (including a millimeter-thin film of cooked yolk/whites on top of the yolk - not sure if there's a technical term ...
11
votes
2answers
809 views

How does salmonella get into eggs?

Since a few hundred million eggs have been recalled, I'm wondering how salmonella gets into eggs in the first place. Is it getting on the shells from the environment (or the hen)? Is it inside the ...
11
votes
8answers
25k views

How do you cook corn on the cob on BBQ?

Do you remove peel and wrap it in tin foil ? Do you put it directly on gril (with peel) ? How much time ?
11
votes
3answers
43k views

Rule of thumb for cooking or baking different quantities?

I often want to cook double quantities from that stated in a recipe - say, twice the quantity of pasta bake or casserole (all in one dish), or two cakes instead of one (in separate tins). Is there a ...
10
votes
1answer
6k views

Should you add some salt to flour when baking?

I was always taught to add a pinch of salt to flour when baking (mainly cakes / muffins and puddings). I have recipes that specifically mention adding salt and others that don't. Is there a ...
10
votes
5answers
746 views

What are good references for Gluten free baking

I have several members of my family who are GF. Baking for them has become a real challenge. I'm looking for good references to learn to understand how to work with this limitation in my baking. What ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

“Instant” leftover rice? Making leftover-like rice without the wait? (as in for fried rice)

I have a bunch of recipes which use leftover cold rice: rice salads, fried rice, rice cakes, and similar. However, I rarely have large quantities of rice left over in the fridge when I want them, ...
33
votes
15answers
146k views

Does active dry yeast really expire?

I was cleaning out my spice cabinet and deep in the back I found two packages (e.g., six envelopes) of active dry Red Star yeast that expired in March 2009, 15 months ago as of writing this question. ...
25
votes
4answers
3k views

Why do some recipes recommend Kosher salt?

Is it healthy or more tasty?
14
votes
6answers
8k views

How to calculate the calorie content of cooked food?

I like to cook from scratch, and I'm currently trying to loose a few pounds. I know that cooked food is generally more calorific than raw food, so if I add up the calories of the ingredients I know it ...
11
votes
3answers
7k views

Can I sharpen a knife with sandpaper?

So I was thinking, instead of purchasing a dedicated (and expensive) whetstone with limited coarse(ness?) range, why not use patches of sandpaper in increasing grit numbers (getting finer), stretched ...
8
votes
10answers
38k views

How to clean a clogged Misto oil sprayer/spritzer?

I use a Misto oil spritzer. You fill it up with oil and pump it up and spray a pan with it. It's gotten clogged up so that it just squirts a steady stream of oil (not a spray). Any ideas how to ...
6
votes
7answers
73k views

Are there any substitutes for Shortening?

I was specifically thinking about the Crisco shortening that is used in baking.
3
votes
1answer
11k views

How can you tell when a roast is done?

How can you tell when a roast is done? How long should they roast for?
23
votes
12answers
106k views

How to quickly soften brown sugar

I had some brown sugar that didn't get properly sealed and so now it's solid as a rock. What's the quickest way to soften it up and get rid of the clumps? Folks have suggested leaving an apple with ...
20
votes
4answers
1k views

How does the way that I cut my garlic affect the taste of my food?

I've seen recipes that called for coarsely chopped garlic and recipes that called for finely chopped or minced garlic. What affect does that cut have on the final taste of my dish? What about crushed ...
19
votes
8answers
21k views

Why is it important to add salt during cooking?

This may seem like a silly question, but given that each persons' tastes are different why is it that salt is added during cooking? It seems better to just allow the person eating the food to add ...
16
votes
4answers
100k views

What does it mean to “fold in” an ingredient into a mix?

I see this in baking recipes, but I've never been quite clear on the difference between mixing and "folding."
14
votes
5answers
5k views

What is the purpose of tempering chocolate?

What is the purpose of tempering chocolate? If I'm dipping something in chocolate, can I get by with just melting the chocolate?
14
votes
1answer
3k views

Does putting salt in coffee really remove bitterness?

I have seen people claim that putting salt in coffee enhances the flavour or removes bitterness. Example. Does this really work? If it does, how does it work? Is there something chemical going on, or ...
12
votes
2answers
4k views

How do I make a “baking powder” substitute in a pinch

Every once in while we run out of "Baking powder". What would be a good receipt for a substitute that you have used that works well?
11
votes
4answers
9k views

Why does my steak turn out well done when the temperature probe says it's only rare?

Is it because I used a poor cut of meat? Did I not cook it fast enough? Should I have removed it from the heat sooner? Is my cut too thick? Is my temperature probe too conservative?
10
votes
5answers
6k views

Is it possible to make cookies without creaming the butter?

I love to make some cookies but have limited kitchen appliances. I don't want to cream the butter and sugar by hand -- I did that before and it was not fun! Is it possible to make good cookies ...

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